AIESEC International Alumni Information
Michael Seward Sutton
AIESEC Member 1979 -1984
AIESEC Asian Congress Organizing Chairperson 1981
New Zealand representative - AIESEC International Congress 1982
Information Technology advisor to AIESEC International - Brussels 1982-1984
3M Management Information Systems Group (TN XGE) - Zurich Switzerland 1983
System Controller MATCH processing International
Role through Life:
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In 1979 I attended the first recruitment meeting held to establish a Local Committee at Victoria University and subsequently was elected to the position of Local Committee Vice President.
This was the first University club I joined. Previously, I had attended a Polytechnic Institute were I established the Students Association and participated in negotiating through national politics to get polytechnic students bursary rights equivalent to full time University students.
|During 1979 I decided that AIESEC's (MATCH) Exchange program could be developed as a near real time database driven system and we could use University computers and link via existing Data Networks to create a new generation of service that would enhance AIESEC's relevance and capabilities internationally. I wrote this article in a magazine we published and brought in computer consultants to brief our membership.|
|My strategy was first to host AIESEC's 1981 Asian
Regional Conference and lobby regional members to endorse such a plan. I then took
the concept to the International Congress in 1982 where an IT subcommittee recommended
allocation of resources.
A 30 page color post-congress Report was produced detailing the proposal (click to enlarge). To ensure that the proposal was objective I engaged external IT consultants and arranged for independent presentations of the projects viability.
I presented to the Presidents Commission at International Congress ,Coventry UK, March 1982, and David Jackson Grosse then Secretary General of AI (81-82) engaged me to return to Brussels to plan for computerization of the AIESEC Secretariat and enable further development of this network solution.
|At International Congress 1982, representatives from underdeveloped member countries expressed full support as such a plan was seen as the best way they could get direct access to this type of technology in the early 1980's.|
|The proposal was completed ~September 1982, recommending
that: An International Alumni should be established and sustained using computer
database support, and that the Alumni would contribute significantly towards establishment
of the Computer Resources Trust of AIESEC.
The computers would enable the Alumni database to operate as well as providing the integrated platform for the Secretariat's 24 hour Office, Exchange and Network processing.
AIESEC's Computer Resources was to be supported by an independent Trust that would include AIESEC Int'l, Alumni, IBM, Microsoft, HP and others with the international Aid objective of installing within 18 months one PC computer at every Local Committee in the World from which the Exchange Data Entry and Network connections would be made.
Hewlett Packard Europe offered AIESEC international ~100,000 USD as offset towards an HP 3000.
At the International Congress in Sankdt Englmar, Germany, March 1983. I performed the role of System Controller. The German Processing Team had implemented an interactive terminal data entry system. This was the first Congress where punched cards were not used as the method for updating records during Congress. We were in the mountains near Munich and each morning at 5am two professional military drivers using new Mercedes cars would drive up, unfortunately we lost a car, driver and one print-run over the side. The driver was aok... but the car was lost and so was a print run.
During periods of 1982-1983 I worked for the New Zealand High Commission in London and then in Zurich with 3M through the Exchange Program for the European Management Information Services Director, Rann Mahanty, where I was able to use state of the art data networks with Personal Business Computers. 3M offered a permanent position in Zurich in 1984.
In March 1984 I was again System Controller for the International Congress MATCH processing runs in Avignon France. While preparing for this Congress I decided that AIESEC's representatives should understand the global strategic issues of computer and information network opportunities for AIESEC.
I was working 20 hours a day for 10 days to establish and operate the data entry & computer processing infrastructure. To get cut-through I stood as candidate for Secretary General (President) of AIESEC. ( Spain and Hungry seconded the nomination). My platform was that I would delegate most operational roles and dedicate 12-18 months of the tenure resourcing, establishing and installing the core computer systems, establishing the Computer Trust and International Alumni (which would underpin the financial costs) . .
I walked through the Plenary Commission to the podium with Lou Reed "Walk on the Wild Side" playing over the public address system - given the setting - that this had been Papal Hall of convocation and that my Father was an Anglican Bishop in New Zealand, I felt on "The Edge". While I was not elected President, I was greatly rewarded by the electorial experience and opportunity to address this global organisation..
In 1984, in New Zealand, I completed the source code development of suite of integrated applications for AIESEC which ran on an IBM PC. These included a data entry validation and database program (MATCH compatible) which had drop down boxes to select expanded english definitions for each field . eg. New Zealand = NWZL. A modem Terminal Program with automated File Transfer. An Editor and a formatted Report generator to print the coded application forms back out as "plain english". I still have a working copy of this code in my archives..
In 2000, Technology and AIESEC's organizational focus have converged with the Internet and the launch of Insight II, through strategic partnerships with external organizations AIESEC now has tools that will facilitate execution of the global mission.
I endorse AIESECs achievement and remember the support of all those during the 1980's who saw this vision and were prepared to make the changes necessary...
I returned to New Zealand and established a private development company which has engaged in a number of cutting edge projects. In 1986, I was able to offer a computer science TN to a Mexican graduate who came to Wellington. He eventually joined Reuters and is now based in New York.
David Eagle (Asia Pacific Director & NCP NWZL) returned from working at the Aiesec Secretariat, Brussels , during 1988 to work with me on a Datacast Business development incubator.
Later in 1990 I was invited to Chair a segment of a Global Theme Conference that AIESEC was a partner in hosting at Chiba, Japan.
In the mid nineties I joined for ~2 years AIESEC New Zealand NBOA. As an alumni - along with other Alumni members on the Board we encouraged the organization to focus on its core competencies.
As always - I enjoy being invited to AIESEC meetings in New Zealand where I can see the organization operating to facilitate networking and relationships between it's Membership and the Business Community, national and local.
Thank you, to an organization whose existence has been an important catalyst for me, in becoming the person whom I now am, with friends and understanding which encompass the globe.